Just before the state tournament started, a slew of county and conference tournaments finished up while a few more finally ended toward the end of the year.
And like in Part 1 and Part 2, and Part 3, here are nine final takeaways, one from the last batch of tournaments.
Note: This was written in mid-May.
The little guys: Glen Rock proved it can compete with the best — or at least much bigger programs — in Bergen County as it won the Spring Invitational. The Panthers tallied 14 point and won three of the five flights at second singles and both doubles. Two of the matches went to three sets and one of them had a set tiebreaker to open. The Group 1 school might have deserved a spot within the top 16 for the main BCT given its history and talent.
Should they be ranked?: The Bulldogs of Dwight-Englewood won the BCT by a slim margin. They had 12 points by Bergen Tech. Tenafly at nine for third. Both Tech and Tenafly are ranked. D-E had three finalists and a flight winner at second doubles. D-E battled with Tech in the middle of May in a dual match and almost beat Summit earlier in the year. The Bulldogs have improved since.
Five for five: Northern Burlington won all five flights at the BCSL Open headlined by first singles Kunaal Jaganathan, who took home his third straight individual crown. Northern Burlington is 12-7 overall and 11-0 within the BCSL. It’s no wonder why it swept. Last year, Moorestown won four of the five flights, but it is now in the Olympic Conference. A full sweep isn’t a bad way to enter the state tournament.
All-East: The singles and doubles finals featured all Cherry Hill East players. The Cougars finished the year as the South Jersey, Group 4 champs who reached the Group 4 final. Derrin Lerner faced Max Dombrowski at singles, and Ben Xi and Zach Van Meter beat their teammates, Garv Singhal and Zach Wei, 6-3, 6-2. East proved this year that it was not only the best in the county, but one of the top teams in the state with talent from top to bottom.
Gilmore gets revenge: Twice this season, Haddonfield’s Jack Gilmore lost to Haddon Township’s Ryan Erhardt in team dual matches. But in the Colonial Conference Championships, it was Gilmore who earned the victory, 6-3, 4-5, ret. Now, Erhardt retired due to cramping so the match didn’t finish, but it was likely heading to a third set where Gilmore could have won.
Delbarton dominance: Delbarton won the team title for the 20th time in the last 21 years. That’s ridiculous considering the talent in the area. The Green Wave edged Chatham by two points and Mendham by four. It was anticipated that Chatham would win at both doubles, but singles could have gone either way. Hudson Bonetti and Jack Gibbons stepped at second and third singles to get critical points as they won their flights. The Green Wave had finalists at all five positions.
A second chance: Normally single elimination tournaments like the Morris County Tournament means if you lose, you’re out and you’re done for good. But a couple handful of teams got a second chance against to compete against each other at the Morris County Open Invitational. Morristown and West Morris tied for first place with 13 points, but Morristown won based on game differential. The Colonials won both doubles flights.
That must feel good: Marlboro was rolling, but it hit a snafu when it didn’t have its complete lineup for a match against Middletown South and then the Monmouth County Tournament right after. That caused the Mustangs to lose their first and only match of the season and then come in second place in the MCT. Weeks later, Marlboro took out that frustration by winning the SCT. It beat Rumson-Fair Haven in the final, 3-2, behind Sourish Gadhi, Nate Roberman, and Larry Xie at singles.
Karajovic repeats: The SJIC pits South Jersey’s best against each other. There are two flights, singles and doubles. There is no boundaries regarding first and third singles or first doubles and second doubles. If you’re good, you’re in. Milan Karajovic, a senior from Lenape, captured the singles title for the second-straight season. That’s an impressive feat given the talented number of players span multiple counties. Cherry Hill East’s Ben Xi and Zach Van Meter, who made the state doubles tournament semifinals, won the SJIC doubles crown.
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